Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > On Chesil Beach

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
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I've been waffling on what I think about this book. It is the story of a wedding night, awkward sex, unfilled expectations, misunderstandings that aren't worked out. Unfortunately I could never read it through the characters' eyes, I was always too aware of the author somehow, his gaze on these people, a sneaking feeling that his emphasis was on the wrong things.

And then there is a hint of something in Florence's past that is unresolved, even for the reader. I had looked forward to this one a while and was left unsatisfied.
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Reading Progress

December 23, 2012 – Shelved
October 25, 2018 – Started Reading
October 26, 2018 – Finished Reading
October 27, 2018 –
99.0% "10/26"
October 28, 2018 – Shelved as: read2018
October 28, 2018 – Shelved as: own
October 28, 2018 – Shelved as: theunreadshelfproject2018
October 28, 2018 – Shelved as: booker-winners-and-listed

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Karen (new)

Karen Are you still wanting to watch the film? Wonder if you'd like it better.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Karen wrote: "Are you still wanting to watch the film? Wonder if you'd like it better."

I watched it and it the ending is totally different! And written by the author, how fun for him to try it both ways I guess.


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen Did the hint of Florence's past make more sense in the movie? Now I want to reread this because I don't remember the ending... this was a book club read long ago for me in Kansas!


Jenny (Reading Envy) Karen wrote: "Did the hint of Florence's past make more sense in the movie? Now I want to reread this because I don't remember the ending... this was a book club read long ago for me in Kansas!"

Well the author includes the same tiny scenes but doesn't ever directly address it any more than in the book. Maddening. But some of the changes in the ending make it seem like the problem wasnt the problem. By the ending I mean what happened decades later.


Cecily I thought the new, extended ending of the film made less sense of the heavy hints (on page and screen) about the troubles in Florence's past. In the film, it seemed her problem was just with Edward, and she was immediately fine, as soon as she was with the musician.


Jenny (Reading Envy) Cecily wrote: "I thought the new, extended ending of the film made less sense of the heavy hints (on page and screen) about the troubles in Florence's past. In the film, it seemed her problem was just with Edward..."

I was pleased with how Edward reconciled with Florence in the film, but totally agree with you about that issue. Unless we are supposed to remember that moment in the book where she indicates if he had been more savvy, more patient, that vibration she was feeling could have become more? Perhaps it really was his inexperience and clodishness that prevented her from being able to? It does seem at odds though.

OH and there is that whole musician thing... the cellist is used to making a skittish stringed instrument turn into beautiful sounds so to me I can see him being far more intuitive, patient, careful, responsive - if that was all it was. But if it is trauma well then. I just don't see.


Cecily Good points. I wonder if McEwan changed his mind in the years between writing the book and screenplay?


Jenny (Reading Envy) Cecily wrote: "Good points. I wonder if McEwan changed his mind in the years between writing the book and screenplay?"

But he left the hints on screen too, the fishing boat scenes and the uncomfortable hand on the shoulder.... I might go dig up some interviews with him maybe. I'd at least like to know how he was thinking about the film.


Cecily Yes, indeed. That's the big weakness of the film for me. But perhaps he was suggesting that although that happened, it was not as permanently inhibiting to her happiness as one would expect, or as the book suggested.


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